"But these weren't the kind of monsters
that had tentacles and rotting skin,
the kind a seven-year-old might be able
to wrap his mind around -
they were monsters with human faces,
in crisp uniforms, marching in lockstep,
so banal you don't recognize them
for what they are until it's too late."
Monsters with Human Faces - The Tyranny of the Police State Disguised as Law-and-Order
We have let the government's evil-doing, its abuses, power grabs,
brutality, meanness, inhumanity, immorality, greed, corruption,
debauchery and tyranny go on for too long.
This is the point, as the poet W.B. Yeats warned, when things fall apart and anarchy is loosed upon the world.
We have seen this convergence before,
Yet no matter how many times the world has been down this road before, we can't seem to avoid repeating the deadly mistakes of the past.
This is not just playing out on a national and international scale. It is wreaking havoc at the most immediate level, as well, creating rifts and polarities within families and friends, neighborhoods and communities that keep the populace warring among themselves and incapable of presenting a united front in the face of the government's goose-stepping despotism.
We are definitely in desperate need of a populace that can stand united against the government's authoritarian tendencies.
Surely we can manage to find some common ground in the midst of the destructive, disrupting, diverting, discordant babble being beamed down at us by the powers-that-be?
After all, there are certain self-evident truths - about the source of our freedoms, about the purpose of government, about how we expect to be treated by those we appoint to serve us in government offices, about what to do when the government abuses our rights and our trust, etc., that we should be able to agree on, no matter how we might differ politically.
Disagree all you want about healthcare, abortion and immigration - hot-button issues that are guaranteed to stir up the masses, secure campaign contributions and turn political discourse into a circus free-for-all - but never forget that our power as a citizenry comes from our ability to agree and stand united on certain principles that should be non-negotiable.
For instance, for the first time in the nation's history, it is expected that the federal deficit will surpass $1 trillion this year, not to mention the national debt which is approaching $23 trillion.
There's also $21 trillion in government spending that cannot be accounted for or explained.
For those in need of a quick reminder:
Right now, the U.S. government is operating in the negative on every front:
Meanwhile, the nation's sorely neglected infrastructure - railroads, water pipelines, ports, dams, bridges, airports and roads - is rapidly deteriorating.
Yet no matter how we might differ about how the government allocates its spending, surely we can agree that the government's irresponsible spending, which has saddled us with insurmountable debt, is pushing the country to the edge of financial and physical ruin.
That's just one example of many that shows the extent to which the agents of the American police state are shredding the constitutional fabric of the nation, eclipsing the rights of the American people, and perverting basic standards of decency.
Let me give you a few more...
Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians and incompetent government officials, America's expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $15 billion a month (or $20 million an hour) - and that's just what the government spends on foreign wars.
The U.S. military empire's determination to police the rest of the world has resulted in more than 1.3 million U.S. troops being stationed at roughly 1000 military bases in over 150 countries around the world.
No matter how we might differ about the role of the U.S. military in foreign affairs, surely we can agree that America's war spending and commitment to policing the rest of the world are bankrupting the nation and spreading our troops dangerously thin.
...were inherited by Donald Trump.
These presidential powers, acquired through the use of,
...enable past, president and future presidents to operate above the law and beyond the reach of the Constitution.
Yet no matter how we might differ about how success or failure of past or present presidential administrations, surely we can agree that the president should not be empowered to act as an imperial dictator with permanent powers.
Increasingly, at home, we're facing an unbelievable show of force by government agents.
No matter how we might differ about where to draw that blue line of allegiance to the police state, surely we can agree that police shouldn't go around terrorizing and shooting innocent, unarmed children and adults or be absolved of wrongdoing for doing so.
Nor can we turn a blind eye to the transformation of America's penal system from one aimed at protecting society from dangerous criminals to a profit-driven system that dehumanizes and strips prisoners of every vestige of their humanity.
Be warned, however:
In our present carceral state, there is no difference between the treatment meted out to a law-abiding citizen and a convicted felon:
In a carceral state, there are only two kinds of people: the prisoners and the prison guards.
No matter how we might differ about where to draw the line when it comes to prisoners' rights, surely we can agree that no one - woman, man or child - should be subjected to such degrading treatment in the name of law and order.
In Washington, DC, in contravention of longstanding laws that restrict the government's ability to deploy the military on American soil, the Pentagon has embarked on a secret mission of "undetermined duration" that involves flying Black Hawk helicopters over the nation's capital, backed by active-duty and reserve soldiers.
In addition to the increasing militarization of the police - a de facto standing army - this military exercise further acclimates the nation to the sight and sounds of military personnel on American soil and the imposition of martial law.
No matter how we might differ about the deference due to those in uniform, whether military or law enforcement, surely we can agree that America's Founders had good reason to warn against the menace of a national police force - a.k.a. a standing army - vested with the power to completely disregard the Constitution.
We labor today under the weight of countless tyrannies, large and small, disguised as "the better good," marketed as benevolence, enforced with armed police, and carried out by an elite class of government officials who are largely insulated from the ill effects of their actions.
These petty tyrannies inflicted on an overtaxed, overregulated, and underrepresented populace are what happens when bureaucrats run the show, and the rule of law becomes little more than a cattle prod for forcing the citizenry to march in lockstep with the government.
No matter how we might differ about the extent to which the government has the final say in how it flexes it power and exerts its authority, surely we can agree that the tyranny of the Nanny State,
...should not be allowed to pave over the Constitution.
At its core, this is not a debate about politics, or constitutionalism, or even tyranny disguised as law-and-order.
For too long now, the American people have rationalized turning a blind eye to all manner of government wrongdoing,
...because they were the so-called lesser of two evils.
Yet the unavoidable truth is that the government has become almost indistinguishable from the evil it claims to be fighting, whether that evil takes the form of,
...or some other diabolical means of inflicting pain, suffering or servitude on humanity.
No matter how you rationalize it, the lesser of two evils is still evil.
You don't fight it by hiding your head in the sand...
We have ignored the warning signs all around us for too long.
As I make clear in Battlefield America - The War on the American People, the government has ripped the Constitution to shreds and left us powerless in the face of its power grabs, greed and brutality.
What we are grappling with today is a government that is cutting great roads through the very foundations of freedom in order to get after its modern devils. Yet the government can only go as far as "we the people" allow.
Therein lies the problem.
The consequences of this failure to do our due diligence in asking the right questions, demanding satisfactory answers, and holding our government officials accountable to respecting our rights and abiding by the rule of law has pushed us to the brink of a nearly intolerable state of affairs.
Intolerable, at least, to those who remember what it was like to live in a place where freedom, due process and representative government actually meant something.
Having allowed the government to expand and exceed our reach, we now find ourselves on the losing end of a tug-of-war over control of our country and our lives.
The hour grows late in terms of restoring the balance of power and reclaiming our freedoms, but it may not be too late.
The time to act is now, using all methods of nonviolent resistance available to us.
If you're watching, you're not doing.
Easily mesmerized by the government's political theater:
...we have become a society of watchers rather than activists who are distracted by even the clumsiest government attempts at sleight-of-hand.
It's time for good men and women to do something. And soon...
Wake up and take a good, hard look around you.
As British statesman Edmund Burke warned,